In the coming weeks, we will be posting a blog a week which will include three "Frequently Asked Questions" we receive at Management Mentors. Please be sure to leave your feedback or your "FAQ" regarding mentoring in the comments section!
FAQ: Why do organizations implement formal mentoring programs?
Interest in mentoring has varied over time and has been affected by economic and social factors.
Organizations recognize that workforce demographics have changed dramatically in recent years, as women and members of different minority groups have joined the workforce in greater numbers. In addition, technology has automated traditional employee functions and continues to affect on-the-job performance, altering the way people see themselves within the corporate structure.
With these changes, organizations are finding it difficult to recruit and retain qualified personnel. As corporate downsizing continues, organizations are also experiencing a flattening of their organizations, challenging them to provide sufficient growth opportunities for employees.
On the plus side, organizations find today’s employees exhibit a more flexible approach to work. On the minus side, employees may feel less loyalty to the organizations for which they work.
Organizations now look to mentoring to implement a strategic game plan that includes:
- Professional development
- Development of a multicultural workforce
FAQ: Does mentoring happen naturally?
Absolutely. Informal mentoring occurs all the time and is a powerful experience. The problem is that informal mentoring is often accessible only to a few employees and its benefits are limited only to those few who participate. Formal or structured mentoring takes mentoring to the next level and expands its usefulness and corporate value beyond that of a single mentor-mentoree pairing.
FAQ: How are informal and formal mentoring different?
Informal and formal mentoring are often confused, but they are very different in their approaches and outcomes.
- Goals of the relationship are not specified
- Outcomes are not measured
- Access is limited and may be exclusive
- Mentors and mentorees self-select on the basis of personal chemistry
- Mentoring lasts a long time; sometimes a lifetime
- The organization benefits indirectly, as the focus is exclusively on the mentoree
- Goals are established from the beginning by the organization and the employee mentoree
- Outcomes are measured
- Access is open to all who meet program criteria
- Mentors and mentorees are paired based on compatibility
- Training and support in mentoring is provided
Organization and employee both benefit directly.